9/04 UPDATE – 3rd Grade Lawsuit

Every question you have is answered in this blog


Since last week Friday, August 26, when Judge Gievers ruled most favorably for the plaintiffs in the third grade lawsuit, it feels like we’ve been on a rollercoaster. As soon as the judge’s ruling was made public, Orange County filed their prepared appeal, to which OCPS legal counsel referred many times during the course of the nine hour hearing at the beginning of that week. Soon after, Hernando, Broward and Seminole Counties followed suit.

In effect, these districts are opting out of following the judge’s ruling and court order. The public may want to know who is funding these appeals, which have disappointed many, but surprised few.  Parent, Jinia Parker wrote a stinging open letter to Florida school boards,

I will not accept “our hands are tied” ever again. Throughout history, “I was following orders” has been the excuse of cowards and those who lack honor. I’m not asking for anything extraordinary. I…

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Recess Matters

According to the NAEYC, National Association for the Education of Young Children, recess is part of learning. NAEYC sets the developmental guidelines for what is appropriate for our children; they are the gold standard. Play is the reflection of a child’s growth; it helps define who they are and is universal to all children because it is intrinsically motivated. Play is an outlet for emotional expression; it focuses on the activity in progress rather than the results. When children are engaged in play, they are thinking critically and abstractly, learning to deal with consequences, problem solving, investigations, pro-social behaviors, bonding with peers, and increasing communication skills. These benefits will accentuate the positive behaviors essential to obtaining cognitive growth in the classroom.

When children play together, they become invested in each other, less likely to bully each other, and more likely to defend one another. NCLB created a rush to engage students with more academic work, which meant recess and physical education were the first to be cut in order to provide more time for test taking and data collection.

According to Dr. Charles Basch, in an article in the Journal of School Health, children in lower income areas have less access to school-based physical activity, which affects emotional stability, physical health, and motivation to learn. The students who would benefit the most are those with the greatest need for cognitive benefits. Even though there is not any evidence that supports more work and less play, schools with lower performance scores remove or cut physical education and recess from the curriculum hoping to gain greater achievements. The current research actually supports increased physical activity having a causal link with positive outcomes on academic success. Brain research tells us that increased oxygen saturation, caused by activity, increases brain neurotransmitters, which increases neurotrophins that support neuronal differentiation and survival in a developing brain; this is linked with cognitive growth.

A study in 2006, of 214 sixth-grade students, showed that students who participated in 55 minutes of physical education did just as well on standardized test scores as their peers who used that time for daily classroom activities (ncppa.org). Academic performance of children engaged in daily physical activity was measured against the norms of U.S. students using Pearson measures. The results indicated an increase in oral comprehension, reading, vocabulary, and phonics. The academic performance was assessed using test scores, grades, observations, and progress monitoring. The gender, income level, physical habits, eating habits, and family life were taken into account when developing the groups of children to study.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that each child get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Although there are not any federal laws requiring physical education or recess, Florida statute 1003.455 requires that children get 150 minutes of physical education each week, with a minimum of 30 minutes of continuous activity. The Recess Moms are currently working on the recess bill, which might make it through this year due to increased support.

Stacie Dern  DernforDuval.com

I am the best choice for Duval County

As a community, we all want education to change. We want to see new policies in place that will give our students the education they deserve. We want someone that has a stake because they care and deeply support what public schools can do for the community and the children who attend. We want someone who enjoys serving the public, who enjoys the diversity of our schools and would work hard to make them better for all. We do not want more of the same and if you listen to the Times Union for district 7, then that is what you will get.

I, Stacie Dern, am everything that we need/want. I have knowledge of policy and statutes that will affect how our teachers are treated and how our children are educated. I value children’s education, because my own son is in a public school and I graduated from a public school. I love serving the community. I attend community events and volunteer. I attend every board meeting and speak out against bad policy, not just for myself, but also for others who have asked for my help. I will be the voice of change because I have been using my voice to make a difference for two decades, not only for my own children, but for all children. I would love to make a real difference for my city. To do that, we need to keep reinventing the wheel, because the wheel is not working. That means we work harder to make every child’s school experience one that matters. I would love to serve Duval County and join other counties together in the fight against Tallahassee for change. If I cannot do that as your board member, I will do it as a parent and teacher in a Duval County public school.
I have enjoyed this process and have met so many wonderful people that no matter the outcome, I feel I have already won. Thank you to those that have supported me and will continue to support me. Please share my Facebook page and my website so others can see what I am about and how I can be the real change our children, teachers, and principals deserve.

Timing is Everything

Educating ourselves will only help us to educate our children


Warriors Against the Core; Warriors Against Fed-led Education; Concerned Citizens of America, and all others:

Below, please find these time sensitive resources for you to use to fight ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) and its continuation of Common Core, College and Career Readiness, Career Tech Education, and STEM.

Due 8/1: All public comments on the Proposed ESSA Regulations.
To learn why the Proposed Regulations should be protested:
This researched guide from the United States Parents Involved in Education (US PIE):

From the hidden truths of the Proposed ESSA Regulations, US PIE found 5 general areas of concern:
a) Dr. King’s (Sec. of Ed) powers increased
b) State Plans and mandates proving less State Control
c) Mandates for States which taxpayers will fund
d) Data mining (will encompass entire communities)
e) Student measuring (assessments)

To submit all comments on the Proposed Regulations:

My recent…

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My speech from the We Vote Rally in Jacksonville

Thank you ILRC  for hosting this We Vote rally and for being the voice of Jacksonville’s Disability Community.

Equality is fostered through an educational system that is public. We need to empower teachers and turn our classrooms into creative, collaborative learning spaces where students work together sharing ideas guided by the teacher.

My focus is on legislative policies that guarantee that our principals, teachers, students, and the families of Duval are granted the best we can give. I would like to raise the quality of education for all children. That does not mean more rigor, that means more collaborative learning, more arts and music education, more recess and time for play centers in the primary years, and more time for teachers to work with children on social-emotional growth.

Included and not advocated for enough are children of varying exceptionalities; those who are gifted in many ways, but do not have an opportunity to show their talents because of the strict curriculum and timeline, because schools don’t have a full time nurse or accommodations to help our children with auditory, verbal, or physical challenges. Parents should not be forced to choose between an inclusive-class and self-contained classroom, or be forced to leave their neighborhood school to ensure the education their children are receiving, the education that is guaranteed to them, is challenging.

We have many programs in place in Duval to ensure each child receives an education rich in arts and academics, but many schools are still lacking the funds to guarantee neighborhood schools will be able to handle the needs of all our children, not just some.

IEP teams work together to provide a plan that will distinguish each of our children’s learning objectives and styles. The goal is to create authentic and creative learners, not test takers. The goal should be for each child to excel beyond their dreams and have parents part of the process every step of the way from deciding not only what services are needed, but also when they should start and when they should end.

The law says that the school has 60 days to complete an evaluation once the parent asks, that is 2months, that is a lot of wasted time a child is not getting services, then add to that the Response to Intervention time the child may have been receiving before the parent or teacher realized more action was needed. We don’t want to deprive children of individualized services that will help them succeed.

What is the answer, I am not sure yet, but I would love more input from parents and organizations that will help make our schools a better place of every student, every day.

Thank you

Stacie Dern 

Candidate Questionnaires

I have filled out numerous questionnaires during my campaign and this one is made public along with the other candidates running for district 7 as well as those running in district 5 of Duval County. Please take the time to read what I believe in and what I hope to expect if I am fortunate enough to be elected to serve my county. I believe in answering questions with specific solutions, not vague goals. I hope you do due diligence selecting a candidate who strives to support a stronger public education. The profiles can be found here

Stacie Dern – Duval District 7 School Board Candidate


Stacie Dern – Duval District 7 School Board Candidate

This questionnaire was given to all candidates who wished to have their information made public. This is mine and the link will take you to the site where you can read about everyone that is running in district 5 and 7.

Stacie Dern Campaign Website: DernforDuval.com Biography: My name is Stacie P. Dern and I am a candidate for the school board seat in district 7. I am passionate about improving the climate and qua…

Source: Stacie Dern – Duval District 7 School Board Candidate

The Gift That Keeps Aligning

There is a lot to cover and change this year. Before we implement new policies we must ensure we get it right .


Anti CCSS/ESSA Warriors, have no fear, I am still here! Yes, it has been a few days since I last shared any education research with you. However, that does not mean I have been slacking off. Quite the contrary. I have found myself involved in a project which has me combing through the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) once again. I wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed any nugget of truth hidden inside the Law. The first time I read the Law (yes, I actually read all the pages of the Final Conference Report (1, 059) pages and the Law (391 pages) ), I knew there were mandates in there to impact every single educational choice known to man, but I also knew that with the ESSA Proposed Regulations Public Comment period drawing to a close (Aug. 1, 2016), I’d better see if there was anything else…

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A Dad Walks into a Charter School Convention

The charter movement’s not so hidden agenda need to be publicized. Parents need to wake up to the destruction of our public education. With charters we won’t have a voice, If we lose our voice, then our children will lose theirs.

Dad Gone Wild

image1Two weeks ago as I was settling down to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones, I got a call: “Did you know that the National Convention of Charter Schools was going to be held Monday, right here in Nashville, Tennessee?” I did not. “Yes, indeed, representatives from charter schools and related businesses would be here for three days to celebrate all things charter.” Wow, was all I could say. “You should go down there and then write about it” it was suggested. Of course, I thought that was a great idea.

That’s how I found myself last Monday morning, picking up my pass for the 2016 National Charter School Conference at the Nashville Convention Center. Perusing the program, I was impressed with the speakers. Dr. Howard Fuller, Secretary of Education John King, former tennis great Andre Agassi – they would all be addressing the throngs. Throughout the day would be sessions

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